Happy 2017!

You guys, I’m such a bad blogger! Between holiday travels and some big exciting projects, I haven’t had much time to write, but this rainy morning seems the perfect opportunity.

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First things first, if you’re here trying to find out more about the Kindness is Everything, I’ve licensed the design to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health and you can shop for signs, shirts and more here. Follow our Kindness is Everything facebook page for updates and to connect with people across the nation that identified with the movement that began as a simple sign.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about above, check out my original post for the back story. Hundreds of emails and thousands of orders later, we’ve raised more than $7,000 for the ACLU with our Midwest sign distribution, and dozens of other groups across the country have raised even more! There were three of us managing all the requests and etsy page (completely pro bono of course) and it just got to be too much, so we started seeking a nonprofit with the capability to sell branded merchandise. Two of us had worked with WAWH previously, were familiar the good work the organization was doing in Wisconsin and nationally and thought it was the perfect fit (plus we knew the executive director would make the most of the opportunity!). It’s been really exciting to have something I made “go viral” and more importantly, to be able to connect with like-minded people across the world.

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I also took a step toward expanding the flower arm of 622 press in December. I offered my first flower making class in December! We ended up having to cancel it, but now that I’ve got the instruction booklets and material kits made—I even hosted a practice class with friends!—I’ve totally got the bug. I’m talking with a few venues in different cities about 2017 classes, so stay tuned! (And if you’re interested in having me teach a class in your area, get in touch, I’m available to travel!)

Speaking of flowers, I felt like they were starting to take over my Instagram feed, so I started a second account completely devoted to paper flowers. Follow here!

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I also had quite a few engaged couples get in touch before the holidays for save the dates and invitations. I can’t share any of those until after the big day of course, but here’s a lovely piece I received in late fall—nothing better than getting your own work in the mail! I’m so excited to work on more wedding invitations in 2017—get in touch if you’re planning your nuptials!

New Retailer: Apartment 528

April has really been one for the record books on the wholesale front—I have another new retailer to announce! I don’t mean to be all #blessed, but I totally am!

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Chicago’s Apartment 528 was opened in 2009 with one goal in mind: To rescue boring apartments (and homes!) with a unique mix of colorful handmade product and vintage furniture. Owner India Shannon has such an amazing eye for curating products that make a big impact and could change your space all on their own, but play nice with everything in the shop, so you could also do a full redesign!

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Naturally, she gravitated toward my brightly colored cards featuring large scale vintage wood type! She also got the last of a few designs, like “YOU’RE AWESOME” below!

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The most exciting part about her order is that Apartment 528 is the first retailer to also carry my embroidery hoops! Chicagoans can check out a good selection of my abstract pieces and the original cactus hoop, along with a few new ones! The online shop is now looking a little sparse in the embroidery department (I’m working on it!), but get in touch and I’ll make something just for you!

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If walls could talk

The Secret Garden | Gary, Indiana

Some photographers have a way of showing the soul of a person in an image. Carey Primeau does it with dilapidated buildings. For the past four years, he’s been working on the Neglected Beauty Project.

“By inspiring dialogue about forgotten historic structures, there is hope that the general public and our politicians will once again learn to appreciate their existence. Historical buildings are crucial for future generations because they not only provide direct connections to our past, but can be focal points for a shared cultural experience in the future,” he says.

Schools Out Forever
School's Out Forever | Jacob Riis Elementary, Chicago

In these buildings covered with dust and grime, he somehow manages to capture every color, each sparkle of sunlight, thereby revealing everything the building ever was to the community. I must agree with him, it would be a terrible shame to let these historic spaces go to waste.

Back Stairs Elegance | Uptown Theater, Chicago
Back Stairs Elegance | Uptown Theater, Chicago

Centrality Amongst Chaos | St. Boniface Church Chicago
Centrality Amongst Chaos | St. Boniface Church Chicago

Epically Epic Soap

Citrus Slice - Epic Handmade Orange, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, and Lime Soap Bar with Olive Oil and Shea Butter
Citrus Slice - Epic Handmade Orange, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, and Lime Soap Bar with Olive Oil and Shea Butter

Also hailing from Chicago: Epically Epic Soap. Created by Allison, these bars look as beautiful as they smell. Let’s be honest — the best soaps spend most their lives in the dish untouched, so they might as well be beautiful! If pop art and soap making had a love child, these would be it — perfect for a quirky home or to add a little life to a traditional one.

Mrs. Zebra Handmade Olive Oil Soap with Cedar, Lemongrass and Sandalwood
Mrs. Zebra Handmade Olive Oil Soap with Cedar, Lemongrass and Sandalwood

Shop Local: Chicago

You know who’s awfully crafty? The folks down in Chicago. I could probably blog for a year about Chicagoans’ handmade goods, but here are a few of my faves:

Maine Lichen Ringcatcher
five trees' Maine Lichen Ringcatcher

I crochet here and there — I’ve made several blankets and more scarves than I can wear in a winter — but that’s nothing compared to five trees fiber arts. Amy’s shop is full of assorted neckwarming devices, of course, but what really sets her apart are her clusters of crochet bowls and stuffed critters. Something for Mom and Baby in the same shop — love it!

five trees Maxwell
five trees' Maxwell

Also using fiber — this time of the fabric variety — is cookoorikoo. I love this necklace made of fabric yo-yos: now that is a statement piece!

cookoorikoos partly sunny yo-yo necklace
cookoorikoo's partly sunny yo-yo necklace

And one more for the kids: Les Tissus Bows. Handmade bows, nursing necklaces, children’s decor and more all handmade by owner Heather. I just love the fluffy hand-trimmed tutus — enough to make any terrible two-year-old look like an angel!

Les Tissus Bows tutu
Les Tissus Bows' tutu